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  1. #1
    Registered User tallblondkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    I think my A3 rings finally gave... Looking at options

    I'll start with a bit of history- I have owned my ep3 for 11+ years and have been on ephatch even longer. My car has the stock k20a3 block and head and neither have ever been opened. I have about 83k miles on it now and it's been turbo'd for the last 9 years, or 45k miles at anywhere from 7psi to 12 psi (300whp) in later years. Car was daily'd the majority of those miles and has seen ALOT of auto-x and track days.

    THE PROBLEM: Well, after seeing grey smoke, burning through oil, and seeing oil on the spark plugs, I think the piston rings have finally given up. I will be doing a compression test in the next week or so to see exactly where I stand.

    DESIRED OUTCOME: To fix it affordably with minimal upgrade in power, but want to strengthen it for longevity. A3 engines can't handle high boost/power due to weak rods, correct? So safe to say that if I strengthen just the blocks internals, that I should be in good shape to safely make 350-370whp, correct? I REALLY WANT TO KEEP COSTS AT A MINIMUM.

    OPTIONS: I have read a lot but still have some unanswered questions.

    1) Convert A3 block to A2 with crank, rods, pistons (either oem and tap for squirters, or don't tap and use coated pistons.
    -Can I use the stock A3 head with A2 pistons/block internals?
    -Will I need to get any machining done?

    2) Buy used A2 short block complete with good condition oem internals and swap it in keeping A3 head.
    -Again, can I use stock A3 head with A2 block?
    -Other than the block and internals itself, and oil pump, is there anything else from the A2 that I would need to swap over as well?

    3) Upgrade/strengthen the A3 rods and pistons with aftermarket ones, retaining the A3 crank.
    -Is there anything else that I would need to upgrade as well?
    -What machining processes would be required for this job?

    Any insight would be great. If you have other recommendations, please let me know. Which option would be the strongest? Which option would be the cheapest? And will all options be ok to safely turn up the boost to make 350-370whp?

    Thanks in advanced.

  2. #2
    0EM xEcuTi0n Ba82Ep3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Mobile, AL
    Considering the mileage your block will need to be honed at minimum. Odds are you dont have stroke length scratches or anything like that to warrant a bore but... you will have ovaling of the bores.

    As far as the bottom end goes, there isnt any real reason to get rid of your crank and rods... unless you intend to rev it even higher upon rebuild. Again thats not even a must. My a3 is still pluggin away hard every day and currently at 8200rpm...

    If i were you i would source a k24a1 head to replace your a3 head. It will allow you to run whatever piston you want (the a3 head limits you because of combustion chamber shape) and since youll need to hone/bore the sleeves you can choose whatever piston you want. A bonus is the added flow of the k24a1 head over the a3 head that will really shine once you put the setup together. Not to mention you can retain the valvetrain you currently have.

    Oil squirters arent really needed. 8500rpm all day every day? Yeah. If youre replacing the stock pistons with OS pistons, just scoop some Supertechs with your CR of choice and have them coated. Job done, and done right.

    You see people bag on the a3 all the time. IMO the head casting is a waste of aluminum. The rest is completely usable, and easy to mod inexpensively.

  3. #3
    Registered User Hasbro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Hilton Head Island, S.C.

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